J-1 Immigration Responsibilities

George Mason University hosts J-1 students in the classifications of non-degree, undergraduate, and graduate students. Students are admitted to George Mason University as part of a regular degree program or for a nondegree program pursuant to an official exchange agreement.

Rule 1

J-1 students attend courses at GMU as part of an official exchange agreement or receive significant government or institutional funding.

Rule 2

Your local address and cell phone number must always be correct in the University database. Update it in your Patriotweb account. If you move, you must enter your new address within ten days. This address cannot be a post office box. It must be the address where you live. Keeping your address and cell phone number current is one of the most important requirements of maintaining your J-1 status.

Rule 3

J-1 students are expected to register for a full course load each semester; 9 credits for graduate students, 12 credits for undergraduate students. Students with Academic or Medical Issues may receive permission for a Reduced Course Load with approved documentation. Click here to learn more.

Rule 4

Do not work in the U.S. without permission. Any work performed by J-1 students while in the U.S. needs authorization by OIPS. Click here to learn more.

Rule 5

J-1 students must apply for a program extension if they will not be able to complete their academic program by the end date on their DS-2019 form.

Rule 6

J-1 students should check their visa and DS-2019 form to confirm if they and their dependents are subject to 212(e) also known as the Two Year Home Residency Requirement.


Rule 7

Insurance that meets the J-1 requirements is required by law for all J-1 students and their J-2 dependents. Students need to pay the insurance by the deadline. Students with dependents need to submit any health insurance policy updates to OIPS in a timely manner. If a student has a scholarship that covers insurance, they will need to provide their scholarship letter to the Third Party Billing Office. The willful failure to carry the required insurance or material misrepresentation of insurance coverage will result in the termination of the J program and legal status in the U.S.

Rule 8

Report Serious health, safety, and wellbeing incidents to OIPS. OIPS is required to report within one business any serious health and safety incidents involving exchange visitors to the Department of State including the loss of immigration documents.

Rule 9

Do not overstay your J-1 status. J-1 students have a 30 day grace period after their last exam or, for graduate students, have successfully completed their defense. If you plan to complete your program before the end date on your DS-2019 form, alert your J-1 advisor. Students interested in post-completion Academic Training must request approval from OIPS no later than three weeks before the end of their program. If you stop studying without completing your program—for example, if you decide to take a break or if you are suspended—you must leave the US right away. If this should happen, come see an OIPS advisor for guidance.